This Creamy Basil Chicken is a flavorful, quick weeknight dinner that is prepared in one pan and ready in under 30 minutes!
For an easy weeknight meal, this chicken dish uses everyday ingredients and is perfect served with rice or over pasta. There is no heavy cream in the sauce making it a healthy option when you want true comfort food.
The chicken is cooked in a skillet and then the garlic and basil sauce is made in the same pan. Great for the whole family and a new fabulous way with boneless chicken breasts.
How to use boneless skinless chicken breasts
Boneless skinless chicken breasts are always on my shopping list! And with good reason! They are affordable, versatile and I know the kids will eat them!
And for that very reason, you will find a LOT of boneless chicken breast recipes on my blog.
My kids favorite: Easy Cheesy Baked Fajita Chicken
Stew’s Favorite: Honey Pecan Chicken Breasts
My Favorite: Garlic Butter Pasta with Garlic Chicken
Great for Entertaining: Cranberry, Pine Nut and Parsley Gremolata Chicken
Make Ahead: Garlic Chicken Parcels
Get all my chicken breast recipes here.
Chicken breasts are great but they can get boring really quickly, so I am always after quick ways to jazz them up a little. And a simple sauce is an easy way to make this weeks pan seared chicken breast taste completely different to last weeks pan seared chicken breasts 😉
How to Pan Seared Skinless Boneless Chicken Breasts
- Start by cutting large chicken breasts in half horizontally (see picture below) to create two chicken fillets (You can read more about cutting chicken fillets here)
- Lightly pound the rounded top fillet of the chicken breasts. This is the one that has the slightly bulbous rounded top, you want to get it to an even thickness, this helps it to cook evenly.
- Pre-heat a large heavy bottom skillet over medium-high heat.
- Season both sides of the chicken fillets with salt and pepper.
- Drizzle 2 tbsp of olive oil into the skillet.
- Add the chicken breasts to the skillet in a single layer and leave them to cook over medium-high heat for 3 minutes.
- Turn the chicken and cook on the other side for a further 3-4 minutes.
- Transfer the chicken breasts to a plate, cover tightly with foil and let the rest and allow the juices to relax back into the chicken. This also gives you time to make a sauce.
How to make a creamy sauce without heavy cream
To make a creamy rich sauce without heavy cream you can use a mixture of chicken broth and milk. These are simmered gently together and then thickened with a cornstarch slurry.
What is a cornstarch slurry?
A cornstarch slurry is a mixture of cornstarch and cold water. This creates a thickish but pourable mixture that when added to hot liquids will immediately start to thicken them.
Can’t you just add the cornstarch to the sauce?
If you add the cornstarch directly to the hot sauce, you will end up with lumps and they are almost impossible to get out without sieving the mixture.
These lumps are gross tasteless gelatinous blobs in your sauce so you want to avoid them. A slurry is the easiest way to do this!
Do you need fresh basil for the basil sauce?
Yes and no.
If you want to make this creamy basil sauce the best it can be then you do really need fresh basil. Fresh herbs add so much to dishes! And this creamy basil sauce is no exception.
But if you haven’t got fresh basil then you can replace it with some pesto. It will change the sauce but it will still be delicious.
Could I use a different herb?
Yes! This is equally delicious if made with parsley, oregano, thyme, dill, sage, or tarragon.
Just replace the dried basil with the dried version of your herb of choice and then replace the fresh basil with your fresh herb.
For all of the herbs above, you will need less fresh herbs than the recipe says for basil.
For the alternatives use just 2 tablespoons of the fresh herbs.
Fun Basil Facts
These may win you a pub quiz one day!!!!
- In Romania basil is believed to be an aphrodisiac.
- In Mexico basil is considered to attract wealth.
- The tallest basil plant ever recorded was grown in Crete and was over 11 feet tall.
- Basil can be pronounced as Bay-zuhl and Baz-uhl.
What to serve with Creamy Basil Chicken
This Basil Chicken is wonderful served with Garlic Rice. Alternatively, serve it over with some Italian Herb Pasta or Mashed Potato.
If you are trying to reduce your carbs then some mashed sweet potato would be awesome. Or just a big bowl of steamed vegetable.
Which wine to serve with Creamy Basil Chicken
The herbaceous nature of basil can sometimes be too much for some wines, so you need to pick something hearty like a Vermentino. But the cream in the sauce means that a citrusy Sauvignon Blanc will always be a good choice. Although my favorite pairing is a Californian sparkling wine. It can handle the basil and also pairs well with the cream. And bubbles are always a great way to start a
Friday night weeknight!
For other delicious Chicken Recipes why not try:
- Peri Peri Chicken
- Garlic Chicken Pasta
- Greek Chicken with Lemon
- Creamy Champagne Chicken
- Dill Pickle Stuffed Chicken Breasts
- Baked Tomato Chicken Breasts
- Crispy Oven Baked Chicken Schnitzel
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Easy Creamy Basil Chicken Recipe
For the Chicken
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
For the Sauce
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tbsp cold water
- ½ cup loosely packed chopped fresh basil leaves
- salt and pepper
To Fillet the Chicken
- Lay your first chicken breast flat on a chopping board. Use a large sharp knife to cut sideways through the breast. Continue to cut through the chicken breast, keeping the knife flat and parallel to the chopping board, until you have two chicken fillets. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts.
To Cook the Chicken
- Sprinkle the chicken fillets with the dried basil, salt and pepper.
- Place a large heavy bottom skillet over medium-high heat and allow to get hot.
- Drizzle 2 tbsp of olive oil into the skillet then add the chicken breasts fillets in a single layer and leave them to cook over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Turn the chicken and cook on the other side for a further 3-4 minutes until cooked through.
- Transfer the chicken breasts to a plate, cover tightly with foil and let the rest and allow the juices to relax back into the chicken.
For the Sauce
- Peel and thinly slice the garlic cloves.
- Place the same pan (don’t wash it out) back over a medium low heat and add the the butter and remaining olive oil.
- Once the butter has melted add the sliced garlic and sauté for a minute.
- Add in the dried basil, then our over the chicken broth, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any crispy bits.
- Add the milk, then bring the mixture to a simmer.
- Mix the cornflour with the cold water to make a slurry.
- Slowly whisk the slurry into the hot sauce, it will instantly start to thicken.
- Simmer the sauce for 2-3 minutes then add in the chopped fresh basil.
- Return the chicken breasts to the pan and spoon the sauce over.
- Serve the chicken immediately with your choice of sides.